How To Keep The Celebration Going After The Holidays Are Over

'Tis the season for more festivities.

pink champagne cake
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Ali Ramee; Prop Styling: Christine Kelly

The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but the fun doesn't have to stop come January. The easiest way to extend the merriment of the season is to think about what makes the holidays so special, from gifting presents to friends to honoring family traditions year after year.

To avoid the holiday slump, we recommend taking a pen to paper and writing down what activities you most enjoyed or are excited for this season. Then take that list and think, “Would this be fun another time of year?” or “What’s a new way to do this in January, and maybe in February, too?!” As a final step, schedule whatever you wrote down, whether it's a party, activity, or even time for yourself, on your calendar to make it happen.

Looking for ideas? I want to keep the cheer going, so I made a list of my own and asked fellow editors how they plan to celebrate month after month, too. Feel free to take notes!

Throw a Post-Holiday Party 

January is a slow time on social calendars, so give everyone a break and schedule a gathering in the second half of the month, as Assistant Editor Cameron Beall does every year. Plan a party for the dead of winter, when things feel extra cold and dark outside!” recommends Betsy Cribb, Home and Features Editor. “It gives you something to look forward to—and a reason to break out the festive duds one more time!” 

Post-Christmas, you might want to steer away from cookie decorating and caroling but don’t feel limited to a non-seasonal theme. Last year, Cribb attended a cocktail competition at the end of January that included “costumes, fun drinks, and even walk-out songs.” 

Plan a Movie Night

Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas may be over, but there’s no time like the present to gather around the TV with cozy blankets and appetizers. The new year is a great time to host a movie night with your family, or even start a new show and invite a group over for a weekly viewing party.

Start a Soup Swap

Southern Living recipes are a huge part of the holiday season. Whether you’re whipping up an appetizer for a party or making pepper jelly as gifts, there is something something about sharing food with loved ones. One way to keep this going is to start what we’re calling a “Soup Swap” with your neighborhood or book club. The idea? It’s cold outside, and we’re all making soup to feed the family and freeze for leftovers…So, instead of freezing a batch of something you’ve already enjoyed, team up with a group and trade your leftovers. That way, you can taste more soup recipes made with love.

Spice Up Your Home

Even if you’re not up for cooking a full Christmas dinner or polishing the silver for a holiday party, there’s a way to trick your senses back into the spirit of Christmas. “Stovetop Potpourri is the perfect way to use up all those warm winter spices you pulled out for holiday baking that you might not use again anytime soon,” says Mary Shannon Hodes, Associate Editor. “Even after the tree is long gone, your home can smell like Christmas.” 

Host a "Favorite Things” Gift Exchange

Earlier this month, I hosted a White Elephant Gift Exchange with my closest friends, and as soon as the last gift was traded, I was bummed it was over. My friends put so much thought into choosing the perfect gift, and it was so fun to hear them talk about why they chose what they did. Especially when something was such a hit that it was “stolen" until it was frozen, like the Weezie makeup towels at ours! Turns out, I wasn't alone in this feeling so my group is already discussing doing another gift exchange sometime before next Christmas. Perhaps we’ll do a seasonal one ahead of summer, or even try out the new “Favorite Things” party in which each attendee brings three of a favorite item for friends to trade and try on their own.

Play Dress Up

Southern women like to dress up at the holidays, so why stop now? Whether you’re hosting a party or meeting the girls for dinner, shoot your friends a text and say, “Let’s dress up for the occasion!” 

Make Gift-Wrapping Fun

To me, wrapping presents is almost as fun as shopping for them. When I finish wrapping my last holiday gift this year, I plan on getting my ribbons, boxes, and paper organized in a special bin and restocking what I need to complete my “gift wrapping station.” This way, I’m excited to use my pretty supplies for birthdays, holidays, and whatever occasions arise.

Create Your Own Occasions

Sure, we may not have another major holiday until Easter but that doesn't mean we have to wait until then to go into full holiday mode. In the spirit of "any day is a reason to celebrate," let's keep the momentum going on the in-between holidays like Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, and St. Patrick’s Day. Set the table, whip up a cocktail, and enjoy the “holiday”—whatever it may be!

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